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From Farm to Tap: How Sensoterra Soil Moisture Data Boosted Hops Yield by 300%

Craft brewing is flourishing in Canada, with a strong emphasis on locally sourced ingredients for top-notch beer quality. In Western Canada, JGL Shepherd Farms, a pioneering hops grower, recognized the importance of precision irrigation to meet local demand.

Introducing Sensoterra soil moisture data alongside a subsurface drip irrigation system, Justin Shepherd, the owner, gained valuable insights for optimizing irrigation. Even during an enduring summer drought in 2018, Shepherd achieved a remarkable crop yield, exceeding expectations by 3-4 times. With plans to expand the hops field in 2019, smart data from Sensoterra is set to revolutionize his farming practices.

“Sensoterra probes help us understand soil moisture behavior at the root zone, allowing us to adapt to seasonal changes, daily moisture, and growth patterns,” says Justin Shepherd.

While canola and wheat dominate Western Canada’s crops, Shepherd took a pioneering step by introducing hops to meet the craft brewery demand. He allocated 1.3 acres for a pilot hops field with five varieties and implemented subsurface drip irrigation for efficient water usage and system longevity.

Growth in the face of drought

Over the 2018 summer, Canadian farmers suffered from an 8-week drought. In order to set irrigation schedules, Sensoterra probes helped Shepherd know exactly when and how much to irrigate.

“We had a fantastic growing season”

The post-drought harvest resulted in yield that was 3-4 times than expected, and Shepherd attributes it to the data from Sensoterra sensors.

Overcoming the 2018 summer drought, Sensoterra probes played a crucial role in Shepherd’s irrigation decisions, leading to a fantastic growing season and an unexpected yield surge.

The smart choice for IoT

The expansion of IoT as a precision agriculture technique excites Shepherd, who believes that LoRaWAN connectivity is the future of Ag Tech. He envisions tremendous value for farmers who embrace IoT technology, like Sensoterra’s soil moisture probes.

About JGL Shepherd Farms

JGL Shepherd Farms is a 4th generation family farm. With the goal of enabling all Saskatchewan brewers to brew beer with 100% locally grown ingredients. Visit to learn more.

Download the Case Study

Want to learn more? Download the Case Study pdf and read a recent article on JGL Shepherd Farms for more information.

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